Let us say that you are playing in a NL100 full ring game and it has been folded around to you on the button and you raise with Ac-Ad.
The small blind folds but the big blind calls you making a heads up pot. You raised to 3.5bb and the call makes 7.5bb in the pot. The flop hits you massively and is the As-7c-2d and your opponent checks. Many players will bet here but is betting correct?
Playing for Real Money
Remember that we are playing for real money and not playing free poker in play money games. Fundamentally then there are only two reasons to bet and these reasons are for value or to bluff. All other reasons are by-products of these two fundamental reasons for betting.
Clearly we are not bluffing and so any bet must be a value bet. However simply betting because you have the best hand is not good poker.
Remember that for a bet to be a value bet then you have to be called by a worse hand otherwise you are simply coercing your opponent into folding……that can hardly be value. So to bet for value means two things.
Betting For Value
Firstly you cannot be betting for value if you either do not have the best hand or you don’t believe that you do. Also you cannot be betting for value if your opponent is going to fold or is highly likely to fold.
On an A-7-2 broken rainbow board then the chances of your opponent calling are remote. To extract more value from this pot means that your best option is checking. Now clearly this risks being outdrawn but your opponent making backdoor hands is the price that you pay for making more money.
This is why playing free poker is often not the best training ground for playing for money. You simply do not take your decisions seriously enough.
So understanding why you place money into the pot when you bet and reducing your reasons for doing so to either betting for value or bluffing is a huge quantum leap for any poker player.